Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Super-simple Wi-Fi range extender

I live in a big house (no, not The Big House, a prison).

I have a "phone room" in the basement filled with lots of phone and network equipment, including a NetGear wireless router.

I often use my iPad on the second floor. It works fine in the master bedroom, which is above the phone room. If I try to use the iPad on the desk in my office, which is also on the second floor, but about a 30-foot horizontal distance from my bed, the signal strength is very weak. Sometimes I can't connect to the Internet at all, and book and music downloads are usually impossible.

I found an inexpensive and easy solution. The Netgear Universal Wi-Fi Range Extender (WN3000RP) is a compact white box that plugs into an electrical outlet in my dining room, on the first floor, above the phone room. It relays signals between my iPad and the router.

Netgear says it "effectively doubles the operating distance of your entire wireless network and conveniently avoids additional need for power cables or device clutter on your office desk or home theater. WN3000RP extends your wireless network to include the area outside the range of your existing wireless router by overcoming obstacles and enhancing overall network signal quality, giving you the freedom to roam anywhere in the house and access Internet without worrying about coverage. The product was specifically designed to be plugged into an electrical outlet, and blends in nicely with any surrounding. It is compatible with wireless b/g/n routers, gateways and Internet service provider devices."

It's truly-plug-n-play. There's no need to install software, experiment with different switch settings or even to RTFM. Price from Amazon is $66.53. If I had known about this a month ago, I would not have needed to make a wired network connection for a TiVo box that can use a wireless adapter.


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